Monthly Archives: June 2015

Glade to Disclose Chemicals in Products

In the past I have covered marketing and social media issues on the Glade brand of home fragrances. Specifically I visited their unique pop up store for the senses in the meat packing district in NYC and discussed how they attempted to build social media buzz.  However, total honesty with customers may be a better marketing strategy.  This week Glade announced that they would disclose the ingredients in some of their home fragrance products.  This is a welcomed change from the prior strategy of evasion.  The New York Times reported that Glade will list the ingredients in most products on the SC Johnson website.  The article can be accessed by clicking: Glade to Disclose Chemicals. glade pack

There is legitimate customer concern over common chemicals in our products and without clear disclosure people are unable to judge.  Unfortunately even with disclosure many of the common chemical and additive names are a mystery to non-chemists.  I would encourage companies to not only disclose the ingredients, but pledge to use only those additives that are proven safe.  This would be awesome marketing and has already been adopted by some firms.

Given a choice, I buy products that I believe have the least harmful ingredients and price isn’t always the indicator. For example, I use pure white vinegar to wash fruit and veggies and that’s cheaper than any commercial brand on the market.  Even if you buy the most expensive cosmetics you can’t be sure what is in them.

One option is to use the database Skin Deep. Here you can input many products to find out whether or not they are harmful to humans and exactly how they may be problematic. Warning:  It is a bit scary…..

When I visited the Glade pop up store I had a great time smelling the different rooms, but the chemicals in the products were a big turn off and I threw away the smelly samples the next day.

Glade… do not just report the chemicals, please use natural ingredients.  They are much nicer.


Why I am Google Analytics Certified

GA certification

This summer I decided to become Google Analytics certified.  Today I passed the exam!  I have to say it was a lot of work with significant studying involved.  I watched all the videos and took copious notes, which came in handy during the test.  There are 70 questions on the test to be done in 90 minutes. I actually had time to spare and could have looked up more of the answers to be more precise.  The practice tests helped a lot.

Why I am Google Analytics Certified

There are a number of reasons:

1. It is important to understand what drives a social strategy and what actions customers or website visitors take as a result of interacting with social media.  If social does not deliver your desired goals, how much time do you want to spend on it?

2. I am planning to ask my students to become GA certified as part of my course Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategies in the MediaStorm Masters Program at Pace University.  As a result I felt it important to become certified myself.  The good news here is that you can become certified and create a dummy account for practice. You do not have to be associated with a business or have a populated Google Analytics account.

3. As a consultant on digital marketing I have to be able to explain to clients why they should execute certain strategies and solid data make it clear what drives response.

4. I just plain feel good that I am deemed competent in something by Google.  Yes, I have advanced degrees, but practical knowledge is very important if you teach digital marketing.

Go ahead and congratulate me. I have not had to study for a test in years!

Does Twitter Matter?

twitterYou spend a lot of time on Twitter writing pithy statements and communicating with your target audiences. But does what people read on Twitter affect their purchase behavior? One recent study suggests that for at least one product category – it does. A study by Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, Caroline Wiertz and Fabian Feldhaus in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science found that Twitter can influence people’s decisions to see or (more importantly) not see a movie.

Word of mouth via Twitter can also directly affect the revenue from films in their opening weekend.To study the influence of Twitter the researchers collected tweets of reviews of 105 movies in the 24 hours following their releases. They then modeled: 1) the percentage of positive and negative reviews and 2) the ratio of positive to negative reviews. The model controlled for the star power of the actors, the budget, reviews by professionals, ad spending, the strength of the studio and even the rating.

They collected over four million tweets, 800,000 total movie reviews and about 40,000 per movie. Most tweets (65%) were sent between Friday (movie release day) and Saturday at noon. The authors examined the box office revenues from movies and estimated whether a movie would make more money without negative reviews. For example , Nightmare on Elm Street would have earned 8% more money- close to an additional 3 million dollars if the bad reviews were not posted.

Word of mouth is a long-studied area of consumer research and studies suggest that there is a bias in favor of negative information. This means that people give more weight to negative information than positive information. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that people try to limit their downside risk. A negative review of a product provides a greater potential negative outcome (spending money and wasting time on a bad movie) than the potential of the offering (seeing a good movie). Another reason is that negative reviews are typically not expected by consumers, so more weight is attached to them. That is why it is important for firms to monitor their Twitter accounts and attempt to mitigate negative comments.

The authors also identify the phenomenon “the Twitter effect:” the influence on early adopters who rely on Twitter for evaluations of “experiential media products.” In the past there was no opportunity for people to obtain very early reviews of movies, lending added importance to “microblogging word of mouth (MWOM),” another term suggested by the authors of the study.

Henning-Thureau, Caroline Wiertz and Fabian Feldhaus (2015) “Does Twitter matter? The impact of microblogging word of mouth on consumers’ adoption of new movies.” Academy of Marketing Science, 43(3), 375-394.

New Instagram Ad Opportunities

instagram ipad

This week Instagram announced they would expand paid advertising options for brands. Instagram will open its news feed to advertisers offering the opportunity to target by age, gender and interests – as on Facebook who owns the service.  In addition Instagram will test a click to buy button.  The New York Times article on the new advertising is here.

Though Instagram has run paid ads since November 2013, this will open the field up to many more potential advertisers leading to more clutter on the service.  Many brands have run Instagram photo contests to engage customers for free.  For example, Herschel Supply has encouraged fans to post pictures with the hashtags #WellTravelled and #CityLimitless. Now brands will have to pay for space to get noticed.

One question is what will the advertising do to Instagram’s young customer base? 90% of Instagram users are under 35 according to Business Insider.  Teens are a fickle bunch and move among social media sites showing little loyalty to any one site.  This is good news for new platforms, but difficult for developing strategy.

As a professor of social media the challenge is to teach students how to manage the ever changing landscape. Initially, it made sense for a brand to develop a social strategy on Facebook and Twitter because there was little clutter and the platforms were ‘free.’ Brands face a different social media space today.  Most sites now support paid advertising and those placements are favored over organic traffic.  Users who “like” a page on Facebook don’t even see most of the posts on their news feeds.  Therefore brands must use paid media to reach targets.

To teach social media these days it doesn’t make sense to focus on specific platforms. Instead, faculty should teach the integrated marketing communications process including: targeting, goal setting, user behavior, content development, search engine marketing, engagement and measurement.

It’s a complicated cluttered mess out there and focusing the strategy on targets and goals makes it manageable.